North Korea’s past and continued development of nuclear weapons raises fears of a potential nuclear war on the Korean peninsula and the specter of terrorists gaining access to weapons of mass destruction. It also represents a dangerous and disturbing breakdown in U.S. foreign policy. A new book by Charles L. “Jack” Pritchard, a former ambassador and special envoy for negotiations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Failed Diplomacy: The Tragic Story of How North Korea Got the Bomb (Brookings Institution Press, 2007), offers an insider’s view of what went wrong and allowed this isolated nation to develop nuclear weapons.
On July 17, Brookings, SAIS and the Korea Economic Institute hosted a discussion of Pritchard’s new book, including a conversation on North Korea and the six-party talks. Richard Bush, senior fellow and director of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at Brookings, introduced and moderated the discussion. Don Oberdorfer, chairman of the U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS, served as discussant.